US: Gunman admits planned massacre of marriage group

A gunman in America who opened fire in the offices of a family campaign group over its opposition to gay marriage, has pleaded guilty to “armed terrorism”.

Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, targeted the Family Research Council (FRC) after it was designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

There have been calls for SPLC, which backs gay marriage, to apologise for the “reckless” labelling of opponents in this way.

Shooting

The gunman Corkins burst into the FRC building in Washington DC last year, and began shooting.

An unarmed security guard was shot in the arm, but managed to overpower the shooter before he could do more harm.

According to evidence presented to the court by the FBI, Corkins was carrying 50 rounds of ammunition.

Smear

He had a list of organisations in his pocket, with FRC at the top inspired by the SPLC list of “hate groups”.

He was also carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches that he intended to smear in the faces of his victims.

Chick-fil-A is a fast-food outlet in America which found itself at the centre of a media storm when its owner voiced opposition to gay marriage.

Reckless

Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, said at the time of the attack, “Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organisations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organisations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy”.

He added that SPLC “should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation and what the FBI here has categorised as an act of domestic terrorism”.

Corkins faces a maximum of 30 years in prison when sentenced in April.

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